6 Ways To Remember Lost Babies At Christmas

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Most people will tell you that Christmas time is about joy, family, giving and the birth of the savior. It’s literally supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.” The song says so.

 




However for some people the idea of Christmas is bittersweet. For parents who have lost a child, Christmas can be one of the saddest and most anxiety producing holidays. Instead of joy you feel anguish for what might have been, you have an emptiness that’s hollowed out your heart. The first year is especially difficult.

Six years ago we were facing a Christmas like the one described. I was too numb to even be considered a mess. Most days I don’t really understand how I was functioning.

Christmas hit just six months after our son Alexander died. I was lost in grief still and so angry when I thought about the joy of the season. My family, the one I had dreamed about all my life, was missing the biggest piece.

I’m not really sure how we made it through that first Christmas. We put up the tree, but left all the ornaments off sans a few angels I picked up. We went to the celebrations, where I generally cried in the bathroom at some point. We went to church and I prayed for my heart, for my son’s heart that stopped before he was born and for the new heart that was growing inside me.

We put one foot in front of the other, we took deep breaths and one forced smile at a time, we made it through that Christmas. Along the way we found ways to cope and, for us, that meant involving Alexander in as many ways as we could.

Most people will shy away from bringing up the name of a lost baby or child. But to parents longing to show some proof of existence for that child, not talking about them at joyous times of the year can be as painful.

You worry people will forget your baby. You worry you will forget. But the truth is you can still make that baby or child a part of the happy times in your life. They don’t always have to be remembered with sorrow and longing. You can remember them with love and honor them in ways that will help make a difference for your heart and will leave a positive impression on the memories of their siblings.

Here are a few ways to include your angel baby in “the hap-happiest season of all,” even when it doesn’t feel so happy.

Ornaments

My husband and I buy each other a special ornament every year at Christmas time. We’ve done this since our first Christmas together when we were dating and today our tree is filled with our memories.

When our son died I started buying an ornament for him each year too. I did this inadvertently. It started with an ornament I saw of a fairy holding a baby and every year since then I try to buy him an angel ornament and/or an ornament with his name on it. By now our tree is filled with his ornaments too and every time I see them there is a little bit of longing there, but there is also comfort in knowing he existed and was a part of our lives.

Remember lost babies at christmas - The everyday mom life



Stockings

Each year my son’s stocking goes up right along with his sibling’s stocking. I love doing this because it’s the one place I can see our complete family. Most of the year we can only carry Alexander with us in our hearts, but at Christmas time this is another visual reminder that he is there.

Remember lost babies at christmas - The everyday mom life

Santa gifts

Since that very first Christmas I have purchased gifts from Santa for Alexander. Some people probably think it’s silly but I place them under the tree, right next to the presents for everyone else and I love this tradition.

Later in the day we head to the cemetery to open the gifts and leave them with him. For this reason the gifts are usually little toys or trinkets that will hold up in the Chicagoland weather. I try to match the gifts each year to his age and think about what he might like. This will admittedly get more difficult as he “gets older” but for now it brings me a lot of comfort.

Usually, the cemetery leaves the toys there for a few seasons or so. In the spring, summer or fall my kids end up playing with those toys whenever we go to visit. Watching them do this is so beautiful and precious to me. For them it’s just playing with toys, but for me it’s the only way I get to see them play with each other.

Remember lost babies at christmas - The everyday mom life



Giving toys in the name of that child

We are starting this tradition this year and giving some toys to toy drives in the name of our son. My daughter actually spurred this idea because there was a toy drive at school that she wanted to buy toys for. It was so sweet hearing her make the suggestion to give to someone else, and I knew she would love to help me pick out some toys in the name of her older brother to gift.

Make them special Christmas flowers

Most cemeteries sell wreaths you can buy and have them place on behind or near the headstones. We’ve done this in the past but I usually make Alexander a special Christmas flower bouquet. Making fake floral bouquets is much easier that I originally thought it would be, and I like the idea of being able to do something for him specifically versus something to help me cope or to help someone else.

As a parent of a child who died, you don’t really get the opportunity to parent them. I look at making the Christmas bouquet as sort of a way of dressing him for the season. My other kids have to wear uncomfortable cloths and shoes that hurt their feet. It’s only fair that I bring him a bouquet with too much glitter and something that lights up too. 🙂

Volunteering

This hasn’t been part of the way we honor Alexander yet because that first year I was too damaged to help. The second year we had our daughter and now I feel both kids are still a little too young to help out with a toy drive or some other type of volunteer effort. However, this is something I would like to include in our future ways to celebrate the season with Alexander, especial as our children grow and he “grows” out of the stage where Santa toys might make sense.

Include them in the Christmas card photo

A lot of loss mothers I know look to incorporate their lost children into family photos and Christmas cards. Some include their Molly Bear, which you can read more about here. Others will wear jewelry, a necklace or a bracelet that represents that child. In Christmas cards I’ve seen angels that have represented a lost baby too.

I haven’t done a Christmas card in a few years (Bad mom!), but those first few years I would write his name along with our’s at the bottom of the cards. This was obviously more overt than a necklace or a bracelet, but, especially that first year, I was searching so hard for way to make him real and validate his existence. As the years have gone and my pain has dulled, I’ve included him more subtly because I realized that it’s not important if other people know he was there. I will always know he existed.

Remember lost babies at christmas - The everyday mom life

If you have lost a child this year and need tips on how to get through the holidays and loss milestones, click here.




70 COMMENTS

  1. I have honestly never known anyone personally who lost a child, but I imagine I would probably not bring it up – unless the parents did. These are great ways to remember.

  2. I would have never thought of any of these for remembering a lost Child, what beautiful and heartwarming ideas! I wish you the best this holiday season, and to enjoy it for what you would like 🙂

  3. First off, I am SO very sorry for your loss – I cannot even imagine how hard that must be to experience. Second, *thank you* for sharing these fabulous tips; they are great ways to cope and move forward even while always remembering, and I am sure they will help many other readers struggling with the same challenges!

  4. I have never thought about this at Christmas. There are so many who have lost children. I can only begin to imagine how difficult the first Christmas would be. I think it’s so heart warming how you still include him in all those ways. I’m so very sorry for your loss. This really hit me harder than I thought it would reading this. I know some people who would gain from this post and I will pass it along.

  5. I am sorry you have had to go through something so terrible in your life. I love all of your ideas in ways of remembering your baby. I think this post can be helpful to anyone that has had to go through this.

  6. My sister is getting induced as we speak, so this is terrible timing to read this article! But I wanted to pitch in anyway, because my best friend lost her first son, and she always honors him by releasing balloons.

  7. Christmas is a time in which we remember lost babies and other family members. some beautiful ways to honour your grief in this post.

  8. This is such a dearing post. I love your idea about have Christmas ornaments on a tree for them. I am sending you love this holiday season!

  9. It’s really important that we cherish their memory as much as we can, no matter how short their time was with us. I think these are wonderful ways to do that. Everything’s just perfect.

  10. I think this is very sweet, it is so important to never forget and how can you really. My sister lost her first son not long after he was born, and I think some of these ideas would be great for her to help her and the family.

  11. It saddens me that so many parents have to deal with losing their child each year it seems so unfair and i’m so sorry to hear about Alexander. I read your post on ‘stillbirth’ and my heart bled for you. No mother should have to go through something as horrific as that. I think that stockings and baubles are a wonderful way of remembering lost babies at Christmas x

  12. So many lovely ways to remember a lost child. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go through the holidays without your little one. It’s so nice that you include him and keep his memory alive.

  13. I lost my first baby 10 years ago tomorrow. I still have a pink and blue elephant ornament that I put on my tree every year.

  14. My brother and sister in law lost their first daughter earlier this year and these ideas are great. I think our family should do these for them.

  15. Your post was very moving as it reminded me of one of my best friends who lost a baby son who shared the same name.
    We tend to forget that the holidays is a time that can bring painful memories to the surface and I applaud your reminder to us all to honor lost loved ones. My condolences to you and your family. Sending hugs and love.

  16. These are wonderful ways of keeping his memory alive! I have a sister that lost her daughter in the mid-90s and there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that she doesn’t think about her. She brings presents to her every year. I’m sure she’d love these other ideas as well.

  17. I’m so sorry you had this experience and thank you for sharing. Our feelings certainly change over time but it doesn’t change the challenge of this season. I had a late miscarriage five years ago and it’s such a hard time for me to revisit.

  18. These are all such touching ideas. Having to spend the holidays without any family member is hard but missing a child is next level. Sending love and support to all who have to remember lost little ones this year!

  19. I can relate, sadly. We have a daughter that was stillborn at 38wks. I never thought of having an ornament or something made for her. This was 13 years ago and I was so young.. You’ve inspired me to create something!

  20. What wonderful ways that you remember your sweet little one! Thank you for being so transparent and sharing something that can help others 💕

  21. I can’t even imagine losing a baby. I have three children, and the thought is too much to fathom for me. I know one thing. I love that you remember them instead of trying to forget the pain and pushing that memory down. This is absolutely beautiful, and I am so sorry for your loss.

  22. I truly am so sorry you had to go through that.

    I lost two pregnancies last year before Christmas. They were early on so I would have given birth this year in March or July. Last Christmas I would have just been pregnant so it wasn’t as hard as this one is going to be. A child holds such a special place in a moms heart.

    I send my love to all the other moms out there who have little angels.

  23. I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you. Child loss has got to be the worst pain anybody can ever feel. We lost one also and it hurt really bad. I really like the idea of doing an ornament for them. It really does make it feel like they are included then.

  24. This is sad but reality for so many. I had a miscarriage and it was horrible to get through that Christmas I didn’t even want to think about it but now looking back I should have it would have helped me to get through the holidays better.

  25. I am sorry for your loss! This is such a lovely tribute to anyone who has had to go through this painful, heartbreaking situation.

  26. I saw the title and couldn’t even read the post. It just broke my heart. Sending all the positive and healing vibes to all the parents who are suffering the enormity of a loss such as this. I pray for them, and hope they can find peace. God bless them all!

  27. I am so sorry for your loss, and I can’t imagine how hard this is. I think these are wonderful remembrance ideas. I love the idea of buying an ornament each year. The fairy and the baby are so lovely.

  28. You are so right! For those parents that lost a baby Christmas can be one of the saddest holiday. Thank you for your thoughts and advices!

  29. What great family traditions. I’m sure Christmas can be a hard holiday for family’s that have lost someone. This is a great way to include those family members who have passed on and embrace the spirit of hope that is around the Christmas season.

  30. I am so sorry for your loss. These are great ways to remember him during the Holiday season. I love the idea of opening a gift at the cemetery – what a great remembrance.

  31. Such a nice way to remember lost babies during the holidays. Christmas is not about making happy moments but to remember our lost loved ones too.

  32. Maybe, I will follow your example in buying a Christmas ornament like an angel. I have lost my baby but I do not have any idea what his sex is. Maybe she’s a girl or he’s a boy. It’s 7 weeks with no heart beat. Oh gee, this makes me tear up! I saw how his big brother wants a younger sibling to play with. It was difficult.

  33. Maybe, I will follow your example in buying a Christmas ornament like an angel. I have lost my baby but I do not have any idea what his sex is. Maybe she’s a girl or he’s a boy. It’s 7 weeks with no heart beat. Oh gee, this makes me tear up! I saw how his big brother wants a younger sibling to play with. It was difficult.

  34. Awww, so sad. I didn’t lose a baby, but I did lose my adult son 9 yrs ago. It still feels like yesterday. God bless you.

  35. It’s one of the hardest occasion for Moms who lost their child. These ideas are great, I think I can also give ornaments for my friends who experience this.

  36. I love that you brought this up – I feel like so many moms could benefit from knowing they aren’t alone in this (myself included). I personally love the idea of getting an ornament for the tree!

  37. what a great way to remember those of us who have lost a child. It’s hard everyday, but even worse during the holidays.

  38. I think these are great and sweet ideas to remember a lost baby at Christmas. I love the idea of creating a Christmas ornament for her/him. Would also be great for any lost member of the family.

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